Smith's blocking helps key victory

Smith's blocking helps key victory
January 6, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Ravens inspired to win by Lewis

If you want to point to the wide receiver who had a big impact on Sunday’s 24-9 playoff victory by the Ravens over the Colts, of course it would be Anquan Boldin first and foremost. He had five catches for 145 yards and a touchdown, playing a spectacular game. How many receivers are strong enough to make his catch on the TD, hauling in the ball with a defensive back’s arm wedged into his chest?

But don’t overlook Torrey Smith’s contributions.

He made two receptions for 31 yards. One of them, a 22-yard catch in the second quarter, displayed Smith’s athleticism, as he leaped to pull down Joe Flacco’s pass over the middle, advancing the Ravens to the Colts’ 38 on a drive that would end in Baltimore’s first score, Justin Tucker’s 23-yard field goal.

But on Smith’s most impactful plays, he didn’t touch the ball. Twice, his downfield blocks on Indianapolis cornerback Cassius Vaughn sprung teammates.

On the first, Ray Rice’s 47-yard catch-and-run with a short pass near the end of the first half, Smith engaged Vaughn between the 30- and 25-yard lines, opening a clear lane for Rice to make it all the way to the Colts’ 2. The Ravens scored a touchdown on the next play.

Smith’s second big block came halfway through the third quarter. Tight end Dennis Pitta took another short pass from Flacco for a 20-yard touchdown, finding a path to the right front corner of the end zone thanks to how Smith pushed Vaughn out of the way.

It’s a sign of how quickly Smith has matured as an NFL player that he can be a key man on a day when his catch total is so low.